Monday, August 31, 2009

This week's music in World Geography: early jazz from New Orleans composer and pianist Jelly Roll Morton

Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (ca. October 20, 1890 – July 10, 1941) was an American ragtime and early jazz pianist, bandleader and composer, says Wikipedia.

Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early jazz, Morton claimed, in self-promotional hyperbole, to have invented jazz outright in 1902. Critic Scott Yanow[1] writes that "Morton did himself a lot of harm posthumously by exaggerating his worth [yet] Morton's accomplishments as an early innovator are so vast that he did not really need to stretch the truth."

Morton was the first serious composer of jazz, naming and popularizing the so-called "Spanish tinge" of exotic rhythms and penning such standards as "Wolverine Blues", "Black Bottom Stomp", and "Buddy Boldens Blues".

As well as a tune called "Shreveport Stomp."